When something unexpected and devastating happens in your own home like a burglary or a fire, it hits you hard. Besides losing your valuables, you lose the sense of security that comes with a home.
Whether it’s an accidental fire, a burglary or any other sort of emergency, you should prepare as much as possible for it. Safety precautions minimise the risk of these occurring and ensure that you have a good chance of getting through them safely if they do occur. Besides investing in security systems, there are a lot of simple steps you can take to stay safe.
Protect your home from intruders
Don’t let strangers in
Always check before you open the door to someone, even if you live in a safe area. Teach your children to do this as well. There are doorbell cameras that you can use for this purpose. When you hire handymen or service men, get recommendations from people you trust and try to have a friend with you when they’re scheduled to work in your home.
Keep valuables safe
Use drapes or curtains to obscure your interiors, especially expensive appliances and valuables, from outside view. If you don’t use jewellery or other valuables often, put them in a safe.
Reset the security system
Don’t forget to set the security system when you leave for work. When you’re at home, keep the wireless security keychain in easy reach so you can call for help instantly. Make sure you choose a reliable security company even if it costs a little more. It’s a great deterrent.
When you’re away…
Houses that look empty are easy marks for burglars. So, even when you go away on a trip, you should make your house look like someone is inside. Get a neighbour to pick up your daily newspaper and junk mail so it doesn’t pile up on the porch. Have radios or TVs set to a timer so they come on for some time during the day, making it sound like you’re home. Have lights in some rooms come on and go off at the appropriate times. Do not hide spare keys in the flower pot or under a rock near your house. Give it to a trusted neighbour, ask them to water your plants and check on your house from time to time.
Lock doors and windows
If your garage is easy to get into, it gives an intruder access to your home. So make sure the door is locked and activate an alarm there for another layer of protection. Before you go to bed, you should check that all the doors and windows are locked around the house. You can make sliding patio doors burglar-proof by inserting a metal bar or a pipe in the middle track at the bottom of the door. Glass break sensors will also alert you to an intruder.
Make your home fire- safe
Fires in homes are more common than you may think and educating yourself on fire safety is important to keep your family safe.
Supervise any open flame
One of the easiest ways to start a fire in your home is to leave an open flame unattended. An adult should always be present around an open flame like a candle, and you should educate young children about fire safety. Young children can be curious about matches and before they think of experimenting with a box, explain the dangers.
Fire resistant building materials
Using fire resistant building materials can help prevent or slow down the spread of a fire. There are a range of affordable materials that you can use. You should consider these for your roofing and cladding. Since these go around your entire house, they will have a big impact.
Douse cigarette butts
When you’re done with your cigarette, make sure you put them out completely with water before tossing them into the rubbish. Those glowing embers can easily reignite and start a fire inside your home.
Switch off and unplug when you step out
Electrical fires can generally be traced back to worn out wires or appliances that were plugged in and forgotten about. Before you head out for the day, it’s a good idea to check the house and unplug irons, hair straighteners and other electrical appliances. Checking the stove should also be on your list.
Install alarms and sensors
You can have carbon monoxide detectors, smoke sensors or even heat sensors installed around the house to warn you of potentially dangerous situations. It is advisable that you install photoelectric or ionization type smoke alarms. Besides having them in the kitchen (heat sensors rather than smoke detectors), also install them in the bedrooms or near bedrooms. You can buy ten year batteries for your smoke alarms rather than dealing with the dreaded beep every twelve months.
In hot weather, especially in the summer, it is not uncommon for fires to break out in wooded areas. If you live in an area prone to fire in summer, make sure you rake and dispose of dry leaves responsibly, trim dried branches and clear long dry grasses.
If you’re storing firewood, do it away from the house. Also, paper and common items of rubbish in the bin can catch fire quite easily so make sure the lid is always closed. Get your family to keep an eye on these things too.
Keep exits clear
In case of a fire or any emergency, you need to be able to get away quickly. Don’t lock your doors with deadbolts that need keys to unlock. You may not be able to remember where you put the key in an emergency and be trapped in! If you want to prevent your kids from opening certain doors, look for other options that won’t be a hindrance during emergencies.
Overall, be prepared and organise yourself in advance
In case you do have a fire, a home invasion or a natural calamity like an earthquake, being prepared and having an action plan in place is your best bet. So, talk about possible emergency situations with your children and spouse. Plan the safest course of action in common scenarios and have a few drills. Make sure everyone at home knows how to operate the security system. Display your door number clearly so that emergency services can find you easily. It’s also worth making sure that you have house and house and contents insurance. For insurance options visit AMI House and AMI Contents web pages. You can use their quote form to get an online quote.
A little bit of thought in advance could make a disaster much less stressful. Take the time this week to make a few adjustments to your home to ensure a safer home, and safeguard your family.